The Supreme Court is on Tuesday expected to decide on a plea by a consortium of banks to start contempt proceedings against troubled liquor baron Vijay Mallya, who allegedly owes them more than Rs 9,000 crore.
The 61-year-old Mallya, who lives in the United Kingdom and is facing extradition proceedings, is wanted in India for alleged loan default and money laundering.
The banks moved the top court seeking contempt proceedings after the flamboyant businessman, who famously called himself ‘king of good times’, got $40 million from the British firm Diageo Plc in February 2016 and transferred the money to his children instead of repaying the loan.
The transfer violated orders passed by the debt recovery tribunal and the Karnataka high court, attorney general Mukul Rohtagi told the court.
Mallya has denied the charges, accusing the government, banks and media of a witch-hunt.
The money is owed by his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines that was grounded in 2012.
After three failed auctions, the banks in April managed to sell his iconic Kingfisher villa in Goa to actor and beer baron Sachiin Joshi for Rs 73.01 crore.
The villa was among the assets Mallya pledged to his lenders, who took possession of the property in May 2016. Beachfront property was owned by United Breweries Holdings, the parent of the airline.
India has impressed upon the UK to expedite the request for extradition of Mallya and other Indian fugitives. During last week’s visit by second permanent secretary in the home office Patsy Wilkinson, Union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi put forward New Delhi’s request, which sources said was accepted by the UK.